THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE HOUSEHOLD REGISTRATION STATUS AND INCOME DISPARITY IN URBAN CHINA
<bold>Abstract</bold>China's household registration system (hukou) has been regarded as one of the main causes of the income gap in China. Despite the economic reforms and many changes to hukou regulations since the 1980's, formidable barriers between the rural and the urban segments of society persist. In this paper, I use longitudinal data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey, which is a multistage, random sample of households from nine provinces in Southeast China. I find rural hukou status, which is how migrant workers in urban areas are classified, is associated with the lower income even controlling for gender, age, education, marital status and region. Despite reform efforts, I also find that the income gap between urban and migrant workers in urban areas gradually increases over the two decades from 1989 to 2009. Furthermore, this data shows the income gap between migrant and urban worker in urban area becomes larger in reform activist states than in reform conservative states. This sheds some light on how policy reforms should be better designed in the future to closing the urban-migrant income gap.
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